Cyber Security Advice
The following advice was recently published in the finance section of a National newspaper. It lists 6 important points worthy of highlighting:
- Be vigilant. It is a chore but checking your bank statements regularly is essential. Call the bank if unsure about a transaction. Also use a credit checking agency for a one-off free check to ensure no one is using your personal information to set up loans. Agencies include Experian, Equifax and Callcredit.
- Stay safe with anti-virus software. Although it can be free, consider paying approximately £40 a year for security covering a variety of gadgets. Do not be tempted by “pop-up windows” offering security – these can be a scam. Accept security software updates as they provide ongoing protection.
- Use a strong password for any online accounts. Picture imaging can help for codes but also consider password manager software.
- Do not share personal information. Social media may be fun but it is a great place for fraudsters to obtain your private details – photos, birthdays,holidays – that when pieced together can compromise your financial security
- Be wary of public wi-fi. Fruadsters can hack into it – often offered in cafes or train – to see what you are doing on your laptop or smartphone. Be wary of making payments or accessing bank details when unsure of a connection. Some fraudsters even mimic public wi-fi to get your details.
- Do not trust websites without first checking the suffix. Fraudsters can steal details and money through bogus websites. They may look official but the final letters often give a clue with regards to authentication. Some fraudulent sites have used ‘co.com’ suffix when the real one is ‘co.uk’. The prefix is worth checking out too. An ‘https’ prefix shows a website that is more secure than one that starts with just ‘http’. The code ‘https’ stands for ‘hypertext transfer protocol secure’
Blue Green Algae has been detected in Milton Loch and burn at Crocketford. Blue green algae is toxic to dogs and livestock and can be fatal. Please be cautious in letting livestock or your dog drink from these sources.
For further information please visiit www.bluecross.org.uk/…/blue-green-algae-and-its-dangers-dogs
Please contact Environmental Health on 030 3333 3000 for more information.
Following an increase in this specific Scam, Action Fraud have posted the following advice.
Pension scammers promise to convert pension funds into cash before retirement, or in some cases they may suggest people can take more than 25% of their pension pot as cash. Pension fraudsters promise to convert pension benefits into cash before age 55.
Criminals are believed to be fraudulently exploiting the pension liberation process in a number of ways. These include failing to advise members of the tax implications of receiving cash from their pension; failing to advise members of the full extent of fees to be paid in relation to any onward investment; falsely representing anticipated levels of returns when investments are either non – existent or incapable of providing such a return.
The scammers have a variety of tricks to catch you out. They may:
- claim that you can access your pension pot before age 55
- approach you out of the blue over the phone, via text message or in person door-to-door
- entice you with upfront cash
- offer a free ‘pension review’ or try to lure you in with so-called ‘one-off’ investment opportunities.
Check the facts before you make an irreversible decision. A lifetime’s savings can be lost in a moment.
The Pensions Regulator’s five steps to avoid becoming a victim of a pension scam:
- Cold called about your pension - just hang up!
- Check the credentials of the company and any advisers – who should be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority.
- Ask for a statement showing how your pension will be paid at retirement, and question who will look after your money until then.
- Speak to an adviser that is not associated with the deal you’ve been offered, for unbiased advice.
- Never be rushed into agreeing to a pension transfer.
For more information about pension scams visit The Pensions Regulator website.
Before you sign anything call The Pensions Advisory Service on 0300 123 1047
The HM Revenue & Customs website highlights the tax consequences of pension liberation to individuals.
If you have been a victim of this type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by calling us on 0300 123 2040 or by using our online reporting tool.
Thieves don’t ever seem to take a holiday! Rural areas have been hit recently by thieves who are clearly not put off by the long daylight hours. In the past couple of weeks over 1700 litres of diesel fuel has been stolen, on two separate occasions from a site in the Glentaggart Forest, near Gelston, Castle Douglas. Sometime between Sunday 8 and Saturday 14 July two strimmers and a chainsaw worth around £300 were stolen from a house near Moniaive, and a Ski Nautique black coloured boat cover, with a value of around £600 has been stolen from a boat moored at the Loch Ken Marina, Parton, sometime overnight Monday 9/Tuesday 10 July. If you are out and about and you see something suspicious, or that just doesn’t seem right, please give us a call on the 101 number, at the time, so we can check it out.
DISTRACTION THEFTS - BE ALERT
Approached outside a supermarket or shop and told you dropped some money? Oh that was nice of the man to return my tenner I'll just put it away in my purse...
That's what happened in Annan this week after two people were subjected to distraction thefts. While 'returning' the money to the victims the suspects are stealing their bank cards and later withdrawing large sums of money from the cash machines.
TRADING STANDARDS WARNING We have been receiving reports of suspicious doorstep callers in the local area, offering roofwork and gardening services. These traders have also been reported as failing to provide legally-required paperwork for work being carried out. As always, we would advise all residents not to engage with doorstep callers. These callers will often use persuasive or aggressive tactics to get householders to agree to have work done, then charge far more than was quoted for poor quality work. Please share this advice with your friends, family and neighbours. For any home improvement works, our advice is to always use a Trusted Trader. www.dumgal.gov.uk/trustedtrader. For further advice or to report suspicious callers, contact us via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06, or alternatively contact Police Scotland on 101. Remember: If in doubt, keep them out!
It appears the suspects are watching people enter their pin while paying for items in the store and then using the 'you dropped some money' routine to distract the victim and steal their bank cards.
Be alert and don't fall for this scam. Stores should also be alert for people hanging around the till area watching people using the chip and pin payment machines.
The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has identified an increasing number of reports submitted to Action Fraud from the public concerning courier fraud.
Fraudsters are contacting victims by telephone and purporting to be a police officer or bank official. To substantiate this claim, the caller might be able to confirm some easily obtainable basic details about the victim such as their full name and address. They may also offer a telephone number for the victim to call to check that they are genuine; this number is not genuine and simply redirects to the fraudster who pretends to be a different person. After some trust has been established, the fraudster will then, for example, suggest;
- Some money has been removed from a victim’s bank account and staff at their local bank branch are responsible.
- Suspects have already been arrested but the “police” need money for evidence.
- A business such as a jewellers or currency exchange is operating fraudulently and they require assistance to help secure evidence.
Victims are then asked to cooperate in an investigation by attending their bank and withdrawing money, withdrawing foreign currency from an exchange or purchasing an expensive item to hand over to a courier for examination who will also be a fraudster. Again, to reassure the victim, a safe word might be communicated to the victim so the courier appears genuine.
At the time of handover, unsuspecting victims are promised the money they’ve handed over or spent will be reimbursed but in reality there is no further contact and the money is never seen again.
Your bank or the police will never:
- Phone and ask you for your PIN or full banking password.
- Ask you to withdraw money to hand over to them for safe-keeping, or send someone to your home to collect cash, PIN, cards or cheque books if you are a victim of fraud.
Don’t assume an email or phone call is authentic
Just because someone knows your basic details (such as your name and address or even your mother’s maiden name), it doesn’t mean they are genuine. Be mindful of who you trust – criminals may try and trick you into their confidence by telling you that you’ve been a victim of fraud
Stay in control
If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it. Have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for personal or financial information.
For more information about how to protect yourself online visit
www.cyberaware.gov.uk and www.takefive.stopfraud.org.uk